cover image Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York 1899–1925

Young Al Capone: The Untold Story of Scarface in New York 1899–1925

William Balsamo and John Balsamo, Skyhorse (Norton, dist.), $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-61608-085-3

Before he became the mythical untouchable "Scarface," Alphonse Capone (1899–1947) was a young, cunningly brutal thug schooled by hard-boiled criminal minds in pre-Depression Brooklyn, N.Y. Capone experts William (Under the Clock) and John Balsamos revisit Capone's apprenticeship years in the violent Brooklyn Navy Yard street gangs and his transformation from a wayward youth to polished, cold-blooded gangster under the tutelage of two master mobsters, Johnny Torrio and "Frankie Yale" Ioele. The authors offer a wealth of cultural and social detail regarding Capone's immigrant Italian-American family, struggling to survive in hard economic times while keeping their ethnic traditions alive. Young Capone took part in the murder of the ruthless leader of the White Hand gang, "Wild Bill" Lovett, and the maiming death of Lovett's rival "Peg Leg" Lonergan, and participated in several rubouts of underlings, which made Brooklyn too hot for the upcoming criminal; he went to Chicago under Torrio's protection. With insider facts and spare narrative, the authors show us not only how Capone got his scarred face; they deliver a scathing portrait of a power-mad predator coming up through the criminal ranks. 16 pages of photos. (Mar.)